Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gratitude parade

Oh Griffin. Photo by Adrien.

I would like to say Thank You for:

*Public libraries. I wrote a paper for a class on economic anthropology last year and here is what I said about libraries:
"The library! This is my salvation in a consumer-oriented world. Besides lip balm, the only other consumer good that makes me positively weak in the knees is a book. But I don’t have to buy it to have it. I get the same high from roaming the shelves of plenty at the local public library. I get to make my selections in peace (no Chapters assembly line here!) and then bring them to the counter for “check out”. No money is exchanged, but none the less I get to leave with an armload of books. They simply trust me not to run away with my booty. What decadence! I get to enjoy them in my own time. I can open the pages and climb right in amongst the words. I can let the prose soak into me… eat it, breathe it, dream it. And when I am done, I take the books back so others can do the same. Where else can you do something this subversive? In a free market economy the public library must surely be headquarters for the revolution."

*The internet. There was no such thing as the internet when I was young (not even in high school), so when it started to become this common-place miracle, I was stunned by the magic. As soon as was possible I found myself web-pen-pals in Manila and Liverpool (I wonder where they are now?). It totally blew my mind. It still kinda does. Go wikipedia! Not to mention the plethora of blogs I read everyday and all the access to information, art, music, movies... the internet is my bff.

*Green eyes. My eyes are green, and I think they're pretty cool.

*Sugar. Yum. Honey. Chocolate. Spice cake. Snickerdoodles. Apple pie. Fresh doughnuts. Milkshakes. Fruit! Sugar is tough, being balanced about it is a real struggle for me (and um... millions of other people). But that doesn't mean that I am not thrilled to the bone that it exists. And the fact that you can now purchase Fair Trade sugar is also nice.

*French immersion. (Ok so that really means I am grateful to my parents who put me in it in the first place...) I grew up in BC so the chances of me spontaneously learning French on my own were quite slim. Being fluent in a second language has allowed me to travel and work in Quebec and France with very little trouble. Plus, I agree with Sapir and Whorf; language is deeply connected to perception. It is much easier to perceive and contemplate something if you have the language to do so. Every language is different and so offers a whole new way of seeing and being in the world. So, obviously, the more languages you speak, the better are your chances of having a multi-faceted world-view. One of the most moving examples I can think of is the Spanish (and I think the Italian one is also similar) expression for giving birth: "dar a luz" which has a literal translation of "to give to the light". Imagine if everything you said was poetry?

*Farmer's markets. Is there anything nicer than seeing table after table of fresh local produce? I dare you to find something better than home-made red pepper jelly, a loaf of soft apple-cinnamon bread, some gooey cheese and a basket of juicy raspberries.

*The option to change my mind. I discover the need to change my mind a lot. I'm glad that it is so often a valid option.

*Absurdity. I really enjoy people with a healthy appreciation for the absurd. Especially those who also happen to be talented writers. With a good sense of humour. Like Douglas Adams (42!) for example. Or the movie Darjeeling Limited that we watched last night. Or Tori Amos. Lovely quirky creative.

*Other people. I'm a pretty introspective person, and it is easy to get lost in the navel-gazing. I am so glad that I bump into other people now and then and remember to look up.

*Flowers. Especially the ones I got totally by surprise this year on Valentines Day. Thank you Adrien ♥ Flowers sort of seem like a cheesy thing to be grateful for, but often the stuff that seems cheesy is just over-done. We see it so often that we don't actually see it at all anymore. Flowers are zany explosions of earth laughter.

*Holidays. I don't mean vacations, although I am grateful for those too. I mean those cyclical holy-day celebrations like solstices and equinoxes and the fabulous rituals that have grown up and evolved around them. Painting eggs, decorating pine trees in our living rooms, offering gifts, making lanterns out of squash, feasting with family and friends, lighting bonfires. That kind of stuff.

*YOGA. I ♥ yoga. I am not generally pro-excercise. I could resist doing excercise professionally. But then eight years ago or so I discovered yoga. Which doesn't feel athletic at all. I can totally trick myself into moving my body around and getting stronger! Ha! I am sure not everyone approaches yoga as a way to deceive themselves into getting fit but that truly was one initial draw for me. Since then I have found a whole wide world of other beneficial things about it, not the least of which is the spiritual side of the practice, but I do want to acknowledge my appreciation for the way yoga gets me off the couch again and again.

*sweet pea close up by Michelle Garrett at Good Ol' Getty

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